6 Best AP World History Prep Books (2020)

Best AP World History Study Books

The AP World History exam has two sections and takes three hours and 15 minutes. Students get free-response and short/multiple-choice sections. Each part is further divided into parts.

Section 1 has Part A that accounts for 40% of the test and contains 55 multiple choice type questions that you need to solve for 55 minutes. Part B of Section 1 accounts for 20% of the test score and contains three questions that you need to answer in short form in 40 minutes.

Section 2 has Part A and B. The first part A is a document-based question that accounts for 25% of the score and gives you 60 minutes. Part B contains one long essay question and makes up 15% of your exam score. You are allowed 40 minutes to solve this question.

Clearly, preparing for the AP World History exam requires some in-depth study. Fortunately, we have recommendations for the best AP World History prep books with a modern spin.

Best AP World History Books

Some of the best modern AP world history books include:

1. Barron’s AP World History

A comprehensive AP World History concepts book

Barron’s AP World History book is a comprehensive review material that contains the basics from beginning to the end. You’ll find content from civilization times to modern history. The amount of detail and coverage in this book is impressive.

It’s more like an easy to read, yet summarized textbook. You can use it when you have enough time before the exams. Students can use this book for world history courses and for review.

Another fantastic aspect is the strategies and tips you get to help you answer short and multiple-choice questions. Create your study plan with the given charts and concepts for quick reviewing.

Previous users love the tests that aren’t as tough, but difficult to help you prepare for the real AP World History exam. These practice tests check your understanding of the main concepts and gauge your performance in preparation. Its affordable price is another fantastic aspect given the quality you get.

Pros

  • Has two tests that are similar to the real exam
  • Detailed content that works for course work
  • Meets the College Board theme

Cons

  • Has an academic writing style that can be boring
  • Too much content for short-term review

Publisher: John McCannon

Year: 2018

Number of Pages: 512 pages

Final Grade: A+


2. Cracking the AP World History Exam Premium Edition

Best-selling AP World History Book

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If you’re looking for an excellent study aid when preparing for your AP History exam, you’ll find Cracking the AP World History Exam Premium Edition a fantastic resource. It’s detailed and useful for someone looking to score high in the History exam.

The book offers essential information in a detailed way from a bigger perspective instead of being focused on a small point of view. That comes in handy when you’re preparing for exams as it guides you on where you need to focus more to achieve a high score.

The easy to understand review book has a conversational style that resonates with you as the reader. You’ll find it simple to comprehend difficult concepts, thanks to its unique approach.

As a student, you’ll learn how to deliver summaries in a simple way, given how vast world history can get. You also learn how to answer short-answer and multiple-choice questions. With this, you can review your progress.

The book also gives you access to study plans online and some tricks to note when preparing for the exam.

Another fantastic aspect is the full-length practice tests that are challenging than the actual exam. The tests allow you to gauge yourself and adjust to the exam pressure. Once you ace these trials, there’s no reason why you can’t get a good score in the final exam. Cracking the AP World History Exam delivers value and it’s one of the best sellers online.

Pros

  • Provides value for money with its detailed content
  • Has challenging practice tests
  • Simple to understand due to the conversational writing style
  • Affordable given the amount of content
  • Comes with two sample tests
  • Has a relationship with College Board themes

Cons

  • Doesn’t have sample essays
  • You may need a content-heavy textbook to act as your base

Publisher: The Princeton Review

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 480 pages

Final Grade: A


3. 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History: Modern 2020 Elite Student Edition

Supplemental Study Aid for days leading up to the exam and the duration of the course

The 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History: Modern 2020 Elite Student Edition combines simple to grasp content with a decent amount of practice materials to give you a comprehensive prep book.

You’ll love the step-by-step study process if you’re looking for extra sample questions. Explore the multiple full-length tests that have two practice tests in books and two online. There are researched strategies on each section of the test.

Students find this an excellent study resource, thanks to the available online resources and practice questions. On the downside, you’ll find that a bit of the content overlaps with course textbooks. Also, some previous users found that it doesn’t align with the new unit structure and exam format.

Pros

  • Has useful charts that summarise each unit
  • Comes with practice exams online and in the book
  • Digestible and short content
  • Different sample study plans you can choose to guide your study
  • Has access to McGraw-Hill Education’s interactive AP Planner AP

Cons

  • too wordy
  • Doesn’t align with the new unit structure and exam format
  • You can’t use it to study throughout the year

Publisher: Martin, Peggy

Year: 2020

Pages: 608 pages

Final Grade: B+


4. AP World History Prep Plus by Kaplan Test Prep

Detailed and conceptual AP History Book

The AP World History: Modern Prep Plus 2020 and 2021 is a must-have prep book. It comes with five full practice tests with an online scoring tool. You can use the tool to convert your scores to a final AP score.

Find pre and post-chapter quizzes to test your knowledge of AP History. The online quizzes are a valuable resource as they help with additional practice. You’ll find this book simple and quick to read, unlike other prep materials.

Adjust your study plans based on the time you have before the exams and your goals. Kaplan goes ahead to include strategies to help you understand what type of practice you need to have as you sit for the exam.

Unfortunately, the Prep Plus book is not as detailed compared to other books on the market. Although you’ll find practice tests inside, they aren’t as tough as what you’ll find on other prep books.

Overall, it’s an affordable book with customizable study plans.

Pros

  • Has three tests to help you prepare for an upcoming exam
  • Easy and quick to read
  • Comes with online quizzes for extra practice
  • Pre-and post-chapter quizzes

Cons

  • The tests are not as challenging

Publisher: Kaplan Test Prep

Year: 2020

Number of Pages: 672

Final Grade: B+


5. AP World History Crash Course: Modern 2020 Edition

Last-minute targeted review book

The AP World History Crash Course provides an affordable and fast way to review your AP History concepts. If you don’t have enough time before the exams, this book will tell you everything you need to know about AP World History in the shortest time.

You’ll find a similar course outline description like the one on the exam. It also comes with test questions to help you prepare in advance. Students get a crash course in some critical events of world history. You also get strategies to help you gain confidence ahead of the test.

It’s an excellent supplementary resource that also works well as a primary review book. Being an affordable book also saves you some money when you don’t have time or money to spend on expensive prep books.

Pros

  • Has practice tests and strategies to gauge your understanding of concepts
  • Works well as a last-minute prep book

Cons

  • Not as detailed

Publisher: Jay.P.Harmon

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 208 pages

Final Grade: B


6. No Bull Review: With the AP US History Exam

A short study aid for your upcoming AP World History exam

The No Bull Review is a no-waste time book that gives you upfront info to help you prepare for your AP World History exam. While you won’t find this review book as detailed as the other prep books, it delivers a fast way for you to grasp critical concepts, terms, themes, and events of history with short explanations.

The end of each chapter has questions to help you see how much you’ve learned. Find practice short-answer, multiple-choice, and questions in this book. The sample Q &A give you essential tips to handle the actual exam.

Its reasonable price as a study guide or as supplementary material is another advantage.

Pros

  • Simple to understand
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not detailed enough to use for course work

Publisher: Jeremy Klaff and Harry Klaff

Year: 2012

Number of Pages: 216 pages

Final Grade: B


FAQ

Some of the commonly asked questions on AP world history prep books include:

What is the best AP World History Prep Book?

Although this largely depends on your current needs, some of the top-rated include AP World History Prep Plus by Kaplan, Cracking the AP World History by The Princeton Review, 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History, and Barron’s AP World History by John McCannon.

Read next: The Best AP United States History Exam Prep Books

How Should I Study for an AP History Exam?

You need to read to understand world history themes and go through the different units. It’s essential to take a practice test and analyze what mistakes you made. You also need to practice how to write essays. Study relevant content areas and do multiple-choice questions. Avoid cramming or memorizing everything.

You may be interested in: AP European History Test Prep Courses & Books

Is AP World History Difficult?

AP World History falls under a medium-difficulty class given the large curriculum, some conceptually difficult content, and tough tests. However, with the right study tactics and enough practice, you should score highly without a lot of challenges.


Final Thoughts

Preparing for an AP World History exam can be challenging. Nonetheless, with the right modern prep book, you can take the different practice tests to gauge your skills and better understand how to answer both short form and multiple-choice questions.

Remember that choosing the best book depends on the format that works for you, the extent of preparation, the content, your budget, among other factors. Our reviews above will help you find a book that suits your current needs and preferences.

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Hannah Young
 

Contributor at ExamCave. Hannah is pursuing a degree in middle school English education at The Ohio State University. Hannah has worked as a writing and math tutor for elementary, middle school, and high school students.